Lesbian Death Trope
*spoiler alert for The 100, S03E07*
I would be embarrassed at how devastated this made me if it weren’t blindingly symptomatic of a larger, heteronormative, homo-oppressive problem.
I’ve been really excited since finding out about The 100. Finally, a network TV show with a strong, complex main character that is also a lesbian! She is the Commander of twelve armies, a skilled fighter, and an independent leader. The other main character, the object of her affection, is a strong bisexual woman. Their relationship is written out absolutely beautifully and it felt like I had finally found a show where I could safely identify with a key romantic relationship. No longer did I have to reluctantly identify with a straight white male who pines after a strong, straight woman.
So when they finally had sex after witholding for a whole season and a bit, I’m pretty sure I fist-pumped, almost as a win for lesbians around the world.
Not ten minutes after, the lesbian was shot in the stomach by a stray bullet. This character, who had fought through battle-to-the-deaths, led and fought wars between nations, commanded twelve armies, was killed off in a second.
I was devastated.
But I found I wasn’t the only one feeling absolutely crushed by this – lesbians on Twitter and Tumblr were voicing their feelings of betrayal towards the show. Some tweets were inane, direction-less expressions of aggression, while others were eloquently worded and even helped me understand my own feelings a bit better. Several articles also (rightfully) accused the 100 of adopting the Lesbian Death Trope – this one does an excellent job.
Over a TV show? C’mon, get over it. – straight people
Straight people think that if they don’t like a relationship, they can just move onto the next one. What straight people don’t get – and I confess I wasn’t fully conscious of this until this episode – is that heterosexual relationships are every-fucking-where and there are virtually no lesbian relationships on TV. Off the top of my head, I only know of Glee and Lost Girl, where lesbian relationships ended in a happily ever after – and both those shows are finished. Alright, I guess I’ll just quit The 100 and move onto another show with complex lesbian main characters OH FUCKING WAIT THERE ARE NONE. I’m so, so sick of having to identify with straight white men in TV shows.
Acid in the wound: she was killed off because of “scheduling conflicts”. Did she have to be killed off? No, there were literally a hundred other ways to write her off temporarily as she filmed Fear the Walking Dead. Yet, the producer felt an accidental gunshot to the stomach was necessary to write her off permanently. Fuck the writers.
But the worst part as an LGBTQ person?
Even my closest of friends were slightly dismissive. And it really hurt. It hurt because I had to
explain JUSTIFY my sadness and explain to them why it mattered to me. But what it really came down to was realizing how different I was to them, simply because of my sexuality. I’d grown up with them and I didn’t know we were experiencing life as differently as this.
Hetero privilege is real and every reminder is painful. The cumulation of microoppressions of LGBTQ people that I witness is all but motivation for me to work harder to be in a position of power, so I can make calls that don’t exclude, but include. As an LGBTQ person, it is my obligation.